So here we are with a new to us coach. We had a gas '95 Southwind when it was just the two of us, but now we are four, with two special needs adults that are very able, but therein posed a problem. Travel in a class A was our choice, having TT'ered and 5th'ed and hated both, and with a small dog and cat, you just can't beat a class A. Having said that, when it was time to consider a different coach, a few things came up when we looked at our must have list, and then when we considered what kind of cash we wanted to tie up, it took us down the road of an older DP. I was adamant about having a DP with air ride, etc, so that part was easy, although finding something in our price range was harder. So in looking for a coach, we set out on a goal of finding the best coach with as many must haves as possible, with the goal of a serious gut job and refit to our specs. The problem that came up was that all the coaches that we looked at, in all the price ranges, came with all the bells and whistles for a single couple, with no kids or adults travelling with them. And no, a J-Bed or Dinette Bed doesn't work for us. Its the funny thing... trailers are family friendly, but not a Class A. Our goal was to install bunks, and if possible a second bath, remove all non essential items and update all fittings to a better spec...So...what did we get? After looking extensively, we settled on a '93 Gulfstream Friendship 38. Cummins 8.3, Allison 6 speed, Spartan Chassis, Air ride and brakes, less than 60 k miles and from the original owners. A death of the husband prompted the sale, and with a checkout and the previous owners installing a full set of new michelins, we made the 300 Mile trip home thru the BC Coastal Mountains with no problems. So, after ripping out the interior, and getting rid of all the useless carpets, dinettes, terrarium cabinets and tile floors, we started the refit. So, before I start posting before and in progress photos, I offer the following rant ....
Just what possesses Coach Builders to install useless cabinets in EVERY nook and cranny?
Also,Installing******taps and fittings is COMPLETLY out of line in every coach, trailer, camper etc...its like the RV industry is the vast dumping ground for all ****ty bits of hardware that would be laughed out of any residential build.
Next, just what kind of idiot manufacturer puts CARPET in a Dinette area, or for that matter, the BATHROOM? But then again, they all seem to suffer from the same oversights.
Lastly, just what kind of shabby "wallpaper" did the MFG's get a hell of a deal on to justify using TO THIS DAY!
Anyway, stay tuned, pics soon, and progress reports...
Oh, FWIW, we paid 19.5k with the new tires and a complete service.
Ok, so I have finally gotten around to posting about this again, and so this was the coach as we purchased it. To finally answer a few questions about the coach, it does not have any slides, as we had a limited budget to work with and to get slides would have required more cash..so for now, it seems to work and with the new "rock star tour bus bunks" we hope to make out fine between us four.
For the coach construction, I have been fairly impressed at the general level of quality. The alloy roof, the all glass over steel frame construction etc has only been marred by the minor issues for us to correct. For example, if Gulfstream put HALF as much engineering thought into sticking on the laminate pieces in the interior as they did fabbing up the tv supports over the dash area...For that I'm impressed, in fact, if I am unlucky enough to roll the coach or whack a low bridge, I'm sure the tv supports will save us all!
another before demo pic
As fas as the demo went, I was amazed at all the cabinets, framing pieces, vents and hoo ha that went into the dumpster...In the process, we uncovered some minor glitches of assembly, but the short story is, it really makes you know your coach to see it from the deconstructed level.
After demo and before renovations:
After Oak flooring install:
Will continue on next post for Bunk framing
* This post was
edited 05/08/12 06:19pm by an administrator/moderator *
Ok, next came bunk framing, so as we get to the reassembly, it has taken a more practical appearance. If I had a nickel for all the folks I have talked to who would gladly trade "ooooh ahhh" glitz, mirrored cabinets and walls, Vegas inspired decor or ( God forbid ) fake fireplaces like we have seen in several coaches, well....
So, I will post more tomorrow, as I have not yet uploaded a bunch, as we get ready to finish the bunks and install the washer/dryer.
Oh and a few more rants....
Poly B plumbing....are you serious?
Plastic baggage door clips....150 or 200 K for this coach new and you install plastic baggage door clips?
Could Ya put a LITTLE more effort in sealing up the floor to wall joint to avoid dust and diesel soot from going everywhere?
I can really appreciate the reasons the Shuttle went pop....nothing like the experience and careful workmanship of most of the coach and the Manufacturers employees, minimized by cost cutting on ridiculously obvious items.
I must go now and say a few kind words to Bargman, patron Saint of crappy electrical parts and exterior lighting.
so after a bit of a break to attend to other matters, here is the progress to date. The wall paper was completely changed in the coach, and as we had done only a partial teardown, it was rather time consuming as there are many small nooks and crannies to do..
we did more cabinetry installs in the bath as well as the new paper and (more) framing
in the meantime, the installation of the new w/d took some time as all new plumbing needed to be tabbed in, both pressure and waste, utilizing the originals to work from, and converting to pex from the poly b with new shutoffs in the compartment that will be below the lower bunk, and accessible from the lift up lower bunk panel. The standpipe, and flex hoses, were routed into the new position, and the unit vented direct. We feel fortunate, as we were able to source a splendide 2100 vented unit for only $ 200 and needed only to purchase the vent kit, which of course, had to go thru the wall, and as Murphy's law would have it, there was a 1X2 steel cross brace in the way...oh well, recipe saw and metal blade made it go away...in a good way, it was comforting to see just how well put together the wall structures are, with closed cell foam between the inner plywood and the outer solid f/glass, with a steel inner sheet in structural areas beneath the ply...
Still needed is the cabinetry surrounding the w/d and the final install of the countertop, but the trial run went well, no leaks and perfect operation.
All blinds were sent out for cleaning, and we reinstalled them, but are still now amused at the operation of the verticals that GS used. So time will tell if we keep them. Reinstalled the swivel chair, the jackknife bed and are starting to see some progress to the completion...